A Dying Breed: View From the Streets by Hobo John

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Randall has a way of tugging at your heart.

Soft spoken and gentle for the most part; he grew up in a backwoods town around here and sort of fits a archetype that is slowly dying or may even be dead; the bachelor/logger/alcoholic.

homeless Bill

Some health problems brought him to Lewiston. He lives on $700 a month and most of that money goes to booze, and booze for friends. As far as a place to stay, well that is always up for grabs.

Sometimes he can talk friends into him letting him stay in their, by the month, hotel rooms or tiny apartments or he will rent one himself until his money is gone.

I imagine he gets more invites when he is flush with cash, so to speak.shame

He is generous when he has the cash and even bought me a pack of smokes once as a way of paying me back for running him around some. He can be annoying at times; like when he doesn’t have any money and wants a drink.

He will sort of demand /ask at the same time and if you tell him no, his voice turns to a sort of pleading, like his whole life may end if he doesn’t get the drink.

Well, he just got paid tonight and I was driving him around looking for a hotel that would take him and honestly the list of hotels and stores he has been kicked out of is astonishing. As we were driving to the third hotel I ask him, “Randall, why won’t you care for yourself?”

Well he got real quiet for several seconds then pretended like I didn’t ask him.

As a trauma survivor six years on the streets not caring a lick for myself, I knew the answer. Randall has a deep sense of personal shame. Who knows what is a persons background: violent parents, rape. incest, abandonment. But Randall kills the shame with the booze.

We finally found him a room and as I was assuring the kind hotel clerk they could call me if they had any problems I burst into tears. I am sure they were tears Randall could not cry for himself. Who knows, maybe we need to cry for each other a little more.

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